How To Hang A Gallery Art Wall
Louisa Warfield Art Consultant.
Her Tips for How to Hang a Gallery Wall.
(A version of this blog was kindly published on Nappy Valley Net January 2019)
What is a Gallery Wall?
A gallery wall is a wall hung with lots of pictures or items – often called a ‘salon
style hang’ named after the annual exhibition held by the Ecole des Beaux-Arts
in Paris. The most famous salon style hanging nowadays, for us in London, is
The Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts. This year it wiil run
from 10th June to 12th August 2019 and is a must see for anyone interested or
getting interested in art
How do you Hang a Gallery Wall?
This is something clients often ask me to help with. Here are a few of my tips:
1. Hang From The Heart.
For me the best walls are the ones that are the least contrived. We’ve all seen the
immaculate photo walls where people hang photos from the same one shoot, in
the same frames. I find these walls leave me a bit cold and they also date quickly.
Kids grow up fast and you soon find yourself with a load of photos from a very
small and increasingly out of date period in your life. Better to select photos from
a wide range of life stages. A wide range of situations, people, places and things.
These kinds of walls feel far more personal, more eclectic and are easier to
update. You can either just add the odd new photo or piece to the edges and
allow the wall to grow organically, or you can swap in and out bits as you get
things you love more.
2. Hang Tight.
The biggest mistake I see my clients make is they don’t hang close enough. Look
at the photos of the salon hang. Ok the one from 1787 is probably too tight
even for my own taste – but the 2018 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is
lovely and close. Hanging tight allows the eye to read the wall as one space.
3. Keep One Thing The Same.
I find it easier to keep a sense of cohesion if one thing is the same. E.g you hang a
collection of landscapes – they are all in different frames, but they are all
landscapes. Or you hang a mix of works – some photos, some collages, some oils
but they are all in the same colour frame. Below is a photo of my gallery wall at
home. Its an eclectic collection of works but it is held by all the frames being
4. Have Fun.
Hanging a gallery wall should be a fun creative experience. Mark out your wall
space on the floor first and then just have a play. Experiment with works creating
a rectangle as a hard edge or a looser edge. Remember nothing is set in stone
until you hang it and even then things can be changed or added.
5. Break Rules.
So here I am suggesting you keep one thing the same and then I immediately
break the rule. In the client’s project below, we purposefully kept ‘Granny’ in her white frame so she would remain special – like a white angel shining down.
I hope this has inspired you to get cracking with your own gallery wall but if you still think you need some help or just need someone to do it with then do just get in touch. I charge £150 for a two hour consultation which is enough time for one or two walls depending on the scale of the project.
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